Archive for January 19th, 2005

Colombian Foreign Minister promises evidence for tonight!

January 19, 2005

No sooner had our illustrious Vice President challenged the Colombian Government to hand over proof of the accusations that there are Colombian terrorists in Venezuela as well as terrorists camps, that the Colombian Foreign Minister Carolina Barco said at the border with Brazil that “Colombia has the proofs, we have prepared them and we will be presenting the, in the next few hours…tonight upon my return (to Bogota)”. The material will be handed over to the Venezuelan Embassy in Venezuela; the only question is when will we know what they have?


I guess Rangel does not read this blog, after all, you could see these documents from when General Gonzalez Gonzalez told Chavez personally about such camps when they were in good terms. Of course, Chavez had to get rid of him to protect his friends.


 


Should be quite interesting, stay tuned!

The double standard of the revolution

January 19, 2005

One of the most amazing things I find about the Government’s prosecution of Sumate leaders for receiving a meager $30,000 from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) for training of voters, is not only that this is perfectly legal, but that this same government never allowed the prosecution of President Hugo Chávez for receiving US$ 1.5 million in illegal campaign contributions from a Spanish bank.


The story is actually quite interesting, since it was the same Spanish judge that charged Chilean President Augusto Pinochet, Judge Baltazar Garzon, that found out about these illegal campaign contributions to Chavez’ Presidential race in 1998. These contributions were illegal for  two reasons: they were never reported and it is indeed illegal for candidates to receive money from foreigners.


 


But it is proof of the ethical decay of our judicial system that Isaias Rodriguez, the partisan Prosecutor/Attorney General, who was Chavez’ first Vice President, never allowed that case to go to the Supreme Court, to allow Chavez to be prosecuted. In fact, Chavez should have been impeached for that campaign contribution, since it was orders of magnitude higher than the amount for which Carlos Andes Perez (CAP) was impeached in 1993, and in this case the funds were used for Chavez own personal campaign, and were never accounted for. The funds CAP was impeached for were used to provide protection for Nicaraguan President Violeta Chamorro, when she won the Nicaraguan presidency.


 


This all comes to mind again today, because those illegal campaign contributions were also apparently illegal under the eyes of Spanish law. The same Judge Garzon today found that the bank accounts used in those contributions, were manipulated and crimes may have been committed, charging those involved.


 


Meanwhile in Venezuela, the leaders of Sumate are being prosecuted for funds received from foreign sources to educate voters! Such is the level of immoral behavior in our judicial system that besides this case, when a Minister (Chacon) accuses a Prosecutor (Danilo Anaderson) of extortion, nothing is investigated by the same authorities (Isaias Rodriguez). Of course, the Sumate case is simply political revenge, because Sumate did such an efficient job, that it forced the recall referendum vote, despite all of the efforts by Chavez to stop it by using manipulation of both the rules and the electoral Board. Oh, the double standard of this sweet revolution!

The double standard of the revolution

January 19, 2005

One of the most amazing things I find about the Government’s prosecution of Sumate leaders for receiving a meager $30,000 from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) for training of voters, is not only that this is perfectly legal, but that this same government never allowed the prosecution of President Hugo Chávez for receiving US$ 1.5 million in illegal campaign contributions from a Spanish bank.


The story is actually quite interesting, since it was the same Spanish judge that charged Chilean President Augusto Pinochet, Judge Baltazar Garzon, that found out about these illegal campaign contributions to Chavez’ Presidential race in 1998. These contributions were illegal for  two reasons: they were never reported and it is indeed illegal for candidates to receive money from foreigners.


 


But it is proof of the ethical decay of our judicial system that Isaias Rodriguez, the partisan Prosecutor/Attorney General, who was Chavez’ first Vice President, never allowed that case to go to the Supreme Court, to allow Chavez to be prosecuted. In fact, Chavez should have been impeached for that campaign contribution, since it was orders of magnitude higher than the amount for which Carlos Andes Perez (CAP) was impeached in 1993, and in this case the funds were used for Chavez own personal campaign, and were never accounted for. The funds CAP was impeached for were used to provide protection for Nicaraguan President Violeta Chamorro, when she won the Nicaraguan presidency.


 


This all comes to mind again today, because those illegal campaign contributions were also apparently illegal under the eyes of Spanish law. The same Judge Garzon today found that the bank accounts used in those contributions, were manipulated and crimes may have been committed, charging those involved.


 


Meanwhile in Venezuela, the leaders of Sumate are being prosecuted for funds received from foreign sources to educate voters! Such is the level of immoral behavior in our judicial system that besides this case, when a Minister (Chacon) accuses a Prosecutor (Danilo Anaderson) of extortion, nothing is investigated by the same authorities (Isaias Rodriguez). Of course, the Sumate case is simply political revenge, because Sumate did such an efficient job, that it forced the recall referendum vote, despite all of the efforts by Chavez to stop it by using manipulation of both the rules and the electoral Board. Oh, the double standard of this sweet revolution!

Something cool about being the Djevelens ekskrement

January 19, 2005

There are few things that I find “cool” about writing this blog. I enjoy doing it, but I also feel I have a duty to write it, but in reality what I wish is that I was writing about very mundane topics, digressions and even trivialities. But I do find it cool when somebody send an e-mail from a far away place and certainly  found it very cool to find that my page is called “Djevelens ekskrement” in Norwegian, in this page which appears to cover Venezuela by translating articles into Norwegian. Definitely very cool, wished I read Norwegian and wonder if that page is written by a Venezuelan living there or by a Norwegian with some sort of connection to our country. I guess I wasted my time learning Danish!. Greetings from the Djevelens ekskrement and thanks for your effort, whoever you are!!!

Government expropriates paper product company…

January 19, 2005

The Government issued today a decree expropriating Venepal, the paper and paper product company that went under about two months ago, declaring itself in bankruptcy. The company went under for a variety of reasons, heavy debt, high inflation, untimely management decisions, strong competition and many others.


But Venepal also had a chance to recover in the last three years and the irresponsible action of some MVR Deputies hampered this possibility. Basically, the company decided to shut down some plants that were no longer competitive, as the currency was devalued and the company could begin exporting again, particularly to the countries in the Andean Pact. However, some members of the National Assembly began threatening the company with expropriation if they shutdown those plants, saying the workers would take them over.


 


In the end the company, whose stock traded in the Caracas Stock Exchange, did not survive, declaring bankruptcy two months ago. It is unclear what the expropriation means. Will those that lent money to Venepal be paid liquidation value? Or will the Government simply take it over and let the former workers of the company run it?


 


Whichever the case may be, it is not an easy task to revive the company. While it is true that the company had too much debt and will come out of the bankruptcy proceedings without any, it is not clear whether the former workers have the management expertise to run it. Moreover, it is unclear how the company will even find temporary financing for its daily activities, particularly if the Government pays no compensation to Venepal’s debt holders. Finally, the company will face very strong competition from Manpa, one of Venezuela’s best managed industrial company, which has done well in both good and bad times and may have been one of Venepal’s main problems.


 


I found it so naďve when I read the interview with the former President of the National Assembly today, where he says about Manpa: “We have to investigate; Manpa is a monopoly and one of the things the Constitution establishes is that we are against monopolies. A company can not have a monopoly in a product or sector because it does what it wants. We are going to refloat Venepal so that there is competition between the two companies.”


 


The Venezuelan Government should be proud of the Manpa oligarchs, who have been smart, aggressive, realistic and worked hard. Instead they view Manpa as the enemy which they plan to defeat, as if the last few years of Manpa’s success were shear luck. I place my bets of Manpa’s side. (I own some of its stock) They have the experience, the management and the know how, they have proven it. I am sure a worker-owned Venepal will be another failed Government experiment that will in the end be paid by all Venezuelans, rich and poor alike.

Government expropriates paper product company…

January 19, 2005

The Government issued today a decree expropriating Venepal, the paper and paper product company that went under about two months ago, declaring itself in bankruptcy. The company went under for a variety of reasons, heavy debt, high inflation, untimely management decisions, strong competition and many others.


But Venepal also had a chance to recover in the last three years and the irresponsible action of some MVR Deputies hampered this possibility. Basically, the company decided to shut down some plants that were no longer competitive, as the currency was devalued and the company could begin exporting again, particularly to the countries in the Andean Pact. However, some members of the National Assembly began threatening the company with expropriation if they shutdown those plants, saying the workers would take them over.


 


In the end the company, whose stock traded in the Caracas Stock Exchange, did not survive, declaring bankruptcy two months ago. It is unclear what the expropriation means. Will those that lent money to Venepal be paid liquidation value? Or will the Government simply take it over and let the former workers of the company run it?


 


Whichever the case may be, it is not an easy task to revive the company. While it is true that the company had too much debt and will come out of the bankruptcy proceedings without any, it is not clear whether the former workers have the management expertise to run it. Moreover, it is unclear how the company will even find temporary financing for its daily activities, particularly if the Government pays no compensation to Venepal’s debt holders. Finally, the company will face very strong competition from Manpa, one of Venezuela’s best managed industrial company, which has done well in both good and bad times and may have been one of Venepal’s main problems.


 


I found it so naďve when I read the interview with the former President of the National Assembly today, where he says about Manpa: “We have to investigate; Manpa is a monopoly and one of the things the Constitution establishes is that we are against monopolies. A company can not have a monopoly in a product or sector because it does what it wants. We are going to refloat Venepal so that there is competition between the two companies.”


 


The Venezuelan Government should be proud of the Manpa oligarchs, who have been smart, aggressive, realistic and worked hard. Instead they view Manpa as the enemy which they plan to defeat, as if the last few years of Manpa’s success were shear luck. I place my bets of Manpa’s side. (I own some of its stock) They have the experience, the management and the know how, they have proven it. I am sure a worker-owned Venepal will be another failed Government experiment that will in the end be paid by all Venezuelans, rich and poor alike.

Young Weil strikes again!

January 19, 2005


 


Joseito: Can you tell me what this bag of cocaine is doing in your underwear?


 


Joseito response: Can you tell me sister what you are doing violating my sovereignty?

Chavez nominates Parra Luzardo as President of the Central Bank

January 19, 2005


Hugo Chavez has nominated Marxist Economist Gaston Parra Luzardo as the next President of the Venezuelan Central Bank. Parra Luzardo is currently Vice-President of the Central Bank and is best known for his brief stay as President of PDVSA March 2002 to April 10th. 2002, which caused the protests that led to Chavez brief departure on April 11th., after more than twenty people died and over one hundred were injured. He is best remembered by his speech in the National Assembly in March 2002, a passionate attack on PDVSA, given in the best old style of the fourth Republic. He is retired from the University of Zulia and has been a Vice-President of the Central Bank since 2000.


Parra Luzardo is not the most modern economist in the world, to say the least, and you can be sure there will be interest rate controls soon after his nomination is confirmed and the Central bank starts handing over foreign exchange profits. Curiously, after Chavez criticized the current President as being too old, he is 74; the new President is 71 so it is not clear exactly what Chavez meant by that. This is likely to be the beginning of the demise of the only semi independent institutions left in the country.

Chavez nominates Parra Luzardo as President of the Central Bank

January 19, 2005


Hugo Chavez has nominated Marxist Economist Gaston Parra Luzardo as the next President of the Venezuelan Central Bank. Parra Luzardo is currently Vice-President of the Central Bank and is best known for his brief stay as President of PDVSA March 2002 to April 10th. 2002, which caused the protests that led to Chavez brief departure on April 11th., after more than twenty people died and over one hundred were injured. He is best remembered by his speech in the National Assembly in March 2002, a passionate attack on PDVSA, given in the best old style of the fourth Republic. He is retired from the University of Zulia and has been a Vice-President of the Central Bank since 2000.


Parra Luzardo is not the most modern economist in the world, to say the least, and you can be sure there will be interest rate controls soon after his nomination is confirmed and the Central bank starts handing over foreign exchange profits. Curiously, after Chavez criticized the current President as being too old, he is 74; the new President is 71 so it is not clear exactly what Chavez meant by that. This is likely to be the beginning of the demise of the only semi independent institutions left in the country.

More folklore from the CNE

January 19, 2005

The folklore surrounding the decisions by the Venezuelan Electoral Board has now become so legendary that last week humorist Laureano Marquez suggested the CNE might decide that Carlos Andres Perez’ election in 1998 will be declared void by the current CNE, only as a way of making sure that Chavez’ coup can no longer be characterized as one and give firm ground to our President’s accusation against the opposition.


Such is the folklore that I actually forgot to report that the CNE decided last week to declare void the election b the CTV, the Confederation of Unions. Now, understand these union elections are not very recent, they took place in 2001, but actually the current leadership of CTV has already called for new elections to replace those that won at that time three years ago.


 


Today, Provea, a human rights organization that our distinguished* President used to quote often when he was only a candidate held a press conference to point out how this decision by the CNE violates not only the law, but the right to unionize freely. This right is actually guaranteed by Article 95 of the Venezuelan Constitution.


 


But it also violates the Agreement with the International labor Organization, which actually has constitutional hierarchy, according to which public authorities have to abstain from participating in the administration or activities relation to unions and the freedom of labor association.


 


CTV decided today to walk a very fine line and used the regulations of the CNE but control its own electoral process. We are sure this will not be allowed by the Chavez Government who despises unions. But in the end it will all depend on the final result. Last time around, the anti-Chavez leaders of CTV took over 50% of the vote versus 19% by the pro-Chavze candidate and current Minister of Education Aristobulo Isturiz.


  


*adjective used to comply with the new Penal Code.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 11,831 other followers